COTTONWOOD MALL
South Highland Drive and Murray-Holladay Road
Holladay, Utah

The Beehive State's first shopping mall was located 10 miles southeast of Temple Square, in Salt Lake County's unincorporated Cottonwood community. COTTONWOOD MALL occupied a 52.4 acre tract and originally encompassed 543,000 leasable square feet. The fully-enclosed, 14 million dollar complex consisted of a Main Floor, small Downstairs Mall and Mezzanine of leased offices spaces.

Salt Lake City-based Horman Construction Company developed the complex. It was anchored by a 2-level (127,900 square foot) Zion's Co-operative Mercantile Institution, or ZCMI; a department store owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints.

ZCMI, which was the chain's first branch location, was dedicated March 26, 1962. It joined two mall tenants who had already opened for business; an Albertsons Food Center and the freestanding Cottonwood Bowling Lanes.

The mall held its official grand opening August 16, 1962, when eighteen stores made their debut. By December of the year, the shopping hub housed thirty-eight stores and fifteen offices. Charter tenants included Josco Drug, La Rie's ladies' wear, Hot Shoppes Cafeteria, Anita Shops ladies' wear, Arthur Frank men's wear and an F.W. Woolworth 5 & 10.

A 2-level (40,000 square foot) The Paris department store began business July 27, 1964. A Makoff's ladies' wear store had also been built on the south end of the mall. The retail roster now listed fifty-six stores and services, including a ZCMI Car Care Center, which had opened in March 1964.

In July of 1968, the National General Corporation Fox Cottonwood Mall Theatre showed its first feature. The venue had eight hundred and fifty seats in a single auditorium. The theater was eventually expanded into a twin-screen operration.

Meanwhile, ground had been broken in March 1968 for a 2-level (161,200 square foot) J.C. Penney. The store, added to the south end of the complex, opened April 16, 1969. In 1970, COTTONWOOD MALL encountered its first retail competitor, VALLEY FAIR MALL {7.9 miles northwest, in Salt Lake County}. FASHION PLACE MALL {3 miles southwest, in Murray} was completed in 1972.

ZCMI at COTTONWOOD MALL was expanded with a third level and adjacent parking garage. The store now encompassed 237,000 square feet. A renovation of the mall proper was announced in June 1981. This project was to include modernization of interior spaces with new skylights and flooring. The Courtyard Food Court was built in a vacant supermarket.

Moreover, a shuttered The Paris store was divided into inline retail spaces. The second story, and an adjacent office mezzanine, were refitted as part of a new Upper Level of retail. This connected with an Upper Level that had been added to the mall's South Wing.

The west-facing facade of the shopping hub was also remodeled. When the renovation was officially dedicated, on November 10, 1983, COTTONWOOD MALL encompassed 743,600 leasable square feet and housed one hundred and fifty stores and services.

The property became part of the newly-formed city of Cottonwood-Holladay in November 1999. The name of the municipality was shortened to Holladay in December of the same year. Also in 1999, the ZCMI chain was sold to Saint-Louis-based May Department Stores, which retained the ZCMI nameplate until the chain was rebranded -under May's Portland, Oregon-based Meier & Frank division- April 18, 2001. The store received a Macy's nameplate on September 9, 2006.

Meanwhile, the shopping venue had been acquired by Chicago-based General Growth Properties in 2002. By this time, it was in a downward spiral. In late 2007, a Cottonwood Mall Site Development Master Plan was finalized. By November of the year, demolition was underway. The existing ZCMI / Macy's was left standing, along with an outparcel TGI Friday restaurant. The remainder of COTTONWOOD MALL was reduced to rubble.

The plan was to replace the 1960s mall with a mixed-use community known as COTTONWOOD. Based on an Old World-European Street motif, the open-air complex was to include 617,000 square feet of retail, two hundred and twenty-six office suites and six hundred and fourteen residential units.

Unfortunately, the Great Recession and GGP's 2009-2010 bout with bankruptcy halted any redevelopment. In the interim, site preparation, including a rerouting of Cottonwood Creek and the elevation of the site above the flood plain, were completed.

As a part of the settlement of the GGP bankruptcy, all potential retail redevelopment was placed under the supervision of the Howard Hughes Corporation. In mid-2014, it was announced that Smith's Food & Drug was going to build a (78,000 square foot) COTTONWOOD store. This would be accompanied by a 10-screen Larry H. Miller Megaplex theater.

However, by early 2017, plans for the Smith's store and theater had been abandoned. The shuttering of Macy's, which was to anchor the new COTTONWOOD development, may have caused the Howard Hughes Corporation to give up on the project entirely.

Apparently, they are selling the property to Salt Lake City's Ivory Homes company. If the deal goes through, and if plans are approved, Ivory Homes will develop the COTTONWOOD MALL site as a retail and residential facility.

Sources:

The Salt Lake Tribune
The Deseret News
preservenet.cornell.edu/publications/Longstreth Branch Store.doc
Salt Lake County, Utah Tax Assessor website
Information provided by Scott P. (a.k.a. "BigMallRat") and Ben
www.ggp.com (General Growth Properties)
www.cinematreasures.org
"ZCMI" article on Wikipedia
"Holladay, Utah" article on Wikipedia
www.howardhughes.com (Howard Hughes Corporation)


FAIR USE OF COTTONWOOD MALL IMAGES:

The graphics and renderings from The Deseret News and photos from the University of Utah Marriott Library illustrate a key moment in the mall's history that is described in the article. The images are of lower resolution than the originals (copies made would be of inferior quality). The images are not replaceable with free-use or public-domain images. The use of the images does not limit the copyright owners' rights to distribute the images in any way. The images are being used for non-profit, informational purposes only and their use is not believed to detract from the original images in any way.